Debt solution figures in Scotland remain stable

27th January 2017

Latest figures from Accountant in Bankruptcy (AiB) show the number of people accessing Scottish statutory debt solutions has remained steady in the third quarter of 2016-17. Figures for bankruptcies, protected trust deeds and debt payment programmes under the Scottish Government-backed Debt Arrangement Scheme (DAS) have stayed largely stable, showing a 1.9 per cent increase from the previous quarter to 3,145.

In the three months between 1 October and 31 December 2016, 1,116 bankruptcies were awarded, similar to the number awarded during the previous quarter. The number of protected trust deeds recorded increased to 1,500 from 1,311, a 14.4% per cent rise from the previous quarter.

There were 529 new debt payment programmes approved under DAS compared with 662 approvals in the previous quarter. A total of £9.6 million was repaid by individuals towards clearing their debts through DAS this quarter. This was a 3.7 per cent increase on the amount repaid during the previous quarter.

Over 400 debtors paid off their debts in full through DAS, with 408 DAS debt payment programmes completed, a 30.8 per cent rise compared with the same quarter of 2015-16.

DAS allows debtors to pay their debts in full without facing insolvency. By contrast, total personal insolvencies, which include both bankruptcies and protected trust deeds, totalled 2,616 for the third quarter of the year up to 31 December 2016, a 7.9 per cent increase on the previous quarter.

The figures come in the wake of legislation changes, which saw the introduction of the Bankruptcy and Debt Advice (Scotland) Act on 1 April 2015.

Personal insolvencies in Scotland have more than halved since 2008-09, and the numbers fell significantly in early 2015-16, the first months after the new legislation came into force.

Commenting on the latest figures, Minister for Business, Energy and Innovation Paul Wheelhouse said “While one person experiencing the distress and anxiety of insolvency is one too many, numbers appear to be settling down at a lower level than they have been in previous years. However, there is no room for complacency. The Scottish Government will continue to do everything it can to bring prosperity to Scotland and protect the most financially vulnerable through support for financial education and providing access to debt relief and debt management for those who need it.”